Severe Malnutrition Spiking in Half of India, Including Varanasi, Gorakhpur; Why Make New Laws When Misusing Old Ones is Easier?
Inflation in double digits for 14 months, life expectancy down 5 years due to air pollution, Zee ordered to take down fake report on Muslim population growth, a memento of Younghusband’s loot of Tibet
A newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas | Contributors: MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, Sushant Singh and Tanweer Alam | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
June 15, 2022
Inflation today is at the highest in 30 years. India’s wholesale price-based inflation has registered a record high of 15.88% in May compared to 15.08% in April. In May last year, the WPI was 13.11%. It has been in double digits for 14 months.
Amnesty International says that Indian authorities must immediately put an end to the use of excessive force in response to large-scale protests, which has caused the death of at least two people, including a child, while many others suffered injuries since last Friday. The organisation also called for the “immediate and unconditional release of those arbitrarily arrested solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”
Today, it’s exactly two years since the deadly clash at Galwan on the India-China border, where India lost 20 soldiers and China lost at least four. PM Modi is yet to name China or admit to its ingress. There has been no public statement or briefing. Two years on, New Delhi only “appears wary of Beijing but unwilling to partner with Washington. These contradictions leave it open to exploitation”, writes Sushant Singh (a contributor to The India Cable). Lt Gen Deependra Singh Hooda writes: “With the growing Chinese military capability across LAC, there is a concern that deterrence may weaken. This could encourage China to use military force, albeit in a limited way, similar to what happened in 2020. To prevent this from happening, India must focus on capabilities that seek to impose punishing costs in the event of a conflict.”
The News Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority – a broadcasting industry entity – yesterday directed Zee News to take down its show, telecast last year, on population growth among Muslims. In contrast to the political myth, population growth rates among Muslims have fallen much faster than in other communities. Down south, a Kannada channel’s report on Hindu drivers opposing Muslim colleagues has been refuted by the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation. The report had also claimed that saffron-wearing employees had formed an organisation with 1,500 members. The channel has quietly taken it down.
PM Modi likes playing the numbers. Yesterday, he instructed ministers and departments to recruit one million people in a year and a half, with the usual lack of clarity on method and process. Vacancies, unfilled for years, are now mind-boggling. According to the National Career Service, there were over 1.40 crore job seekers in March 2022, while active vacancies were just a little over 1.70 lakh. Also recall that in 2014, the Modi government had said it would offer 10 crore jobs in its first term. Guess how many jobs candidate Modi offered on November 22, 2013?
Two major hurdles prevent the Union government from recruiting one million in less than two years. No agency is equipped to handle such accelerated recruitment. The National Recruitment Agency was set up in August 2020 but is not yet functional. From the Union Public Service Commission to the Railway Recruitment Boards, agencies recruit about 100,000 per year.
A study based on National Family Health Survey 5 data finds that severe malnutrition has spiked in half of India in five years. Acute malnutrition among preschool children is increasing in 341 out of 707 districts across 36 states and UTs between 2016 and 2021. Varanasi and Gorakhpur, associated with the PM and his leading chief minister, are in the list of 115 districts where the situation is particularly serious.
The stellar rise in corporate earnings in FY21 and FY22 did not result in a boom in capital expenditure. Listed companies’ investment in fixed assets rose just 2.3% year-on-year in FY22, growing at the slowest pace in the last six years. In comparison, the firms’ combined net profit jumped 63.5% YoY in FY22, while net sales increased 31.1% — the fastest pace in over a decade. The 955 non-financial companies in Business Standard’s sample reported combined net profit of Rs 7.18 trillion in FY22, compared with Rs 4.39 trillion in FY21 and Rs 2.59 trillion in FY20. The companies’ combined net sales jumped to Rs 87 trillion in FY22 from Rs 66.43 trillion in FY21 and Rs 69.9 trillion in FY20.
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Capt Amarinder Singh has joined veterans to express strong disapproval of the Agnipath short-term contract recruitment scheme for soldiers. The former Punjab CM said will sound the death knell of single class regiments like the Sikh Regiment, Sikh Light Infantry, Gorkha Rifles, Rajput Regiment, Jat Regiment, etc. Home Minister Amit Shah has said the ‘Agniveers’ who are discharged from the Army after four years service will be given “priority” in recruitment to the Central paramilitary forces.
It seems edtech giant Byju’s may be in trouble before it is listed. Deloitte, Byju’s auditors, are yet to sign off on its 2021 financials. “The reticence comes from the lending and accounting decisions that Byju’s has made.” The impact of this decision will have implications across the startup sector, which the government holds up as a bright spot in an otherwise bleak economic landscape.
A single-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court has commented on alleged misuse of Section 498A. It said that “misuse” of the dowry law, designed to protect women, is affecting the institution of marriage, and live-in relationships are replacing traditional marriages: Justice Rahul Chaturvedi observed that live-in relationships have “silently sneaked into our socio-cultural ethos, replacing traditional marriages and it is a ground reality which one has to accept.”
China has announced visas for Indian professionals and their families stranded in India for over two years following strict visa restrictions imposed by Beijing due to the pandemic.
The Indian Meteorological Department has said in its forecast that scattered rainfall with thunderstorms and lightning might occur over the western Himalayan region and adjoining plains (Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Rajasthan) today. Delhi is very likely to receive rain in June 14-18 owing to western disturbances.
Neeraj Chopra has established a new javelin throw national record of 89.30 m.
Watch this short documentary on why India’s status as ‘open defecation-free’ is far from the truth.